Green Deal assessments lag in regions most in need

5th July, 2013

Regions with high domestic energy consumption are showing the least interest in taking up the Green Deal to improve efficiency. The first detailed Green Deal statistics show that just 70 Green Deal assessments – less than 1 per cent of the total – had been carried out in Scotland in the opening months of the scheme. Regional data for England, Scotland and Wales released for the period from 28 January to 31 March showed just 327 assessments in the North-east, and 376 in Wales – around 4 per cent of the total each. These regions are among the highest consumers of energy in the home according to the most recent research by the DECC.

Data shared with Construction News from the Energy Saving Trust shows that Scotland has the highest proportion of homes without cavity wall insulation, and the second highest without adequate loft insulation. A total of 44 per cent of Scotland’s 2.2m homes have no cavity wall insulation, while 63 per cent have inadequate loft insulation. This compares to a UK-wide average of 31 per cent and 55 per cent respectively. Around 27 per cent of the North-east’s 1.1m homes have no cavity wall insulation, while 42 per cent have inadequate loft insulation.

Three teams including British Gas, Keepmoat and Wates are in the running for a £200m green retrofit scheme covering five local authorities in the North-east. Wales’ 1.2m-strong housing stock fares better, with only 21 per cent having no cavity wall insulation but 50 per cent without adequate loft insulation. A total of 9,294 Green Deal assessments were carried out in England, Scotland and Walesbetween 28 January and 31 March. That figure has since risen to 38,259 as of 16 June, but only 241 Green Deal plans have been confirmed and of these only four have actually been signed.

The City of London, Rutland and the Isles of Scilly were the only local authorities to have carried out no Green Deal assessments by 31 March 2013. Kensington and Chelsea carried out only one assessment over the period, compared with four in Westminster and 890 across the capital. Those figures followed news that Carillion’s £1.5bn Energy Savers contract in Birmingham had delivered just one signed Green Deal plan in its first five months.

Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger:
Responding to the figures from Construction News, shadow climate change minister Luciana Berger said: “The government promised the Green Deal would be the most transformative home improvements programme since the Second World War, but these figures show the scheme is not reaching the regions most in need of greater energy efficiency. “The Green Deal must be a good deal for the public if it is to succeed. Ministers urgently need to tackle the sky-high interest rate, penalty payments and hidden charges so that the scheme is attractive to households all over the UK.”

The highest percentage of assessments was carried out in the North-west, with 1,453 (16 per cent), while the South-east, South-west and Yorkshire and the Humber undertook around 14 per cent of assessments each. Leeds, Kirklees and Liverpool were the only local authorities to undertake more than 200 assessments over the period, with Leeds leading the way with 396. England accounted for 95 per cent of assessments. Green Deal experts expressed surprise at the figure, as Scotland had been expected to lead the Green Deal agenda. One source said he was “foxed” by the Scottish figures, but expected the number of assessments to have exceeded 500 since 31 March – however, this would still be just a fraction of the total 38,000 carried out by 16 June.

A government report earlier this month found that a third of assessed homes planned to install some form of energy efficiency measures, though these would not necessarily come through the Green Deal. A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change pointed out that before April, Scottish cashback schemes did not include a Green Deal assessment, meaning measures may have been installed outside the Green Deal scheme. Early Green Deal adopters were offered cashback incentives in a £125m package, with 968 vouchers paid since 16 June following the installation of measures – but 99 per cent of these have been for boiler replacements. He added that IT systems in Scotland only became fully operational on 25 February, and that 30,000 more assessments had been lodged since the end of March. “The proportion of assessments per head of population in Wales, 12 per 100,000, and the North-east, 13 per 100,000, is only just below the average – 15 per 100,000”, the spokesman added.

The Green Deal assessments recommended a total of 30,506 improvements, but 19 per cent of these measures was for boiler improvements. Insulation made up around 23 per cent of recommended measures.


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